Foods Allergies

Food allergy is an abnormal response to a certain food by immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody.

Top 8 common food allergens 

  • Egg
  • Cow’s milk
  • Peanut
  • Tree nuts
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

How does the allergy trigger?

Certain foods trigger the immune response of IgE antibody. When the allergen is contacted the first time it causes sensitization. Re exposure of the allergen causes allergic reaction.

The allergen binds to IgE on the surfaces, this binding triggers the cells to release mediators of allergic reaction which include, histamine, leukotrienes and cytokines.

The release of these mediators causes the symptoms of allergic reaction.


The symptoms can occur in different parts of the body

  • Skin: Blisters, pruritus, oedema, dermatitis and rashes
  • Gastrointestinal: malabsorption, abdominal pain, cramping, abdominal distension, diarrhoea, flatulence, nausea and vomiting.
  • Respiratory: asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath, nasal polyps, allergic rhinitis
  • Neurological: migraine, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, muscle and joint pains and restlessness

Some of the systematic symptoms include anaphylaxis, headache, hypotension and cardiac arrhythmia.

What is Anaphylaxis!

It is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger such as an allergy.

Along with other allergy symptoms, anaphylaxis leads to confusion, fast heartbeat, breathing difficulty & loss of consciousness etc.


The diagnosis for food allergies can be done by performing tests such as skin prick test, RAST (Radio allergosorbent test), X ray test involving barium sulphate. Other than these tests eliminating suspected foods to verify signs and symptoms, the elimination diet test should be performed under medical supervision.

Tips to manage food allergy

  • Read the ingredient list on food labels carefully. Look for ‘allergen information’ and ‘contains’ and ‘traces of’
  • Avoid cross contamination by utilising different utensils during cooking and preparation
  • Look out for the derivatives of allergens.
  • While eating out, ask specifically if the allergen is added or utilised in the kitchen. Inform the authorities and request for a different utensil to be used in cooking.
  • Look out for substitutes to substantiate the properties and nutritive benefit from the allergens.